Blackbuck poaching case: Court frames fresh charges against Saif, three others

Jodhpur, Mar. 23 : A Jodhpur Court on Saturday framed fresh charges against Bollywood actors Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam Kothari and Sonali Bendre in connection with the 1998 blackbuck poaching case in Rajasthan.

The government's lawyer, Mahipal Bishnoi, said the court has framed fresh charges against Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam Kothari and Tabu.

"The court said that they were with actor Salman Khan in the same gypsy when the blackbuck was shot and also provoked him to do so. Taking all this into consideration, the court has framed fresh charges against the actors," he added.

Meanwhile, K. K. Vyas, the lawyer representing Saif Ali Khan Tabu, Neelam Kothari and Sonali Bendre, said the judge called all the accused and read out the fresh charges against them.

Bollywood star Salman Khan, who is currently in USA for his medical treatment for Trigeminal Neuralgia, was not present in the court today.

Salman had not appeared before the court in February this year and his counsel said that the actor could not appear before the court due to his pre-scheduled shooting plans.

The Rajasthan High Court had revised the charges against these stars in December 2012, charging Khan with Section 51 of Wildlife Protection Act and others including a with Section 51/52 of Wildlife Protection Act and Section 149 of IPC.

The revised charges have been framed against Saif Ali Khan, Neelam, Tabu and Sonali Bendre. If proven, the actors might be sentenced to six years' imprisonment.

The next hearing in the blackbuck poaching case has now been scheduled for April 27.

Under the Wildlife Protection Act, the blackbuck is a protected animal and hunting or poaching of the same is a punishable offence under the Indian law.

A complaint was filed against Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Neelam, Tabu and Sonali Bendre on charges of being involved in hunting of protected blackbucks.

The actors were accused of poaching two blackbucks in Kankani village near Jodhpur in October 1998.

The blackbuck shooting case dates back to 1998 during the shooting of the film 'Hum Saath Saath Hain'.

--ANI (Posted on 23-03-2013)

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